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Beginning CSS: Cascading Style Sheets for Web Design [Paperback]

Richard York

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Beginning CSS: Cascading Style Sheets for Web Design Beginning CSS: Cascading Style Sheets for Web Design
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Book Description

June 12 2007 0470096977 978-0470096970 2

Cascading style sheets (CSS) are the modern standard for website presentation. When combined with a structural markup language such as HTML, XHTML, or XML (though not limited to these), cascading style sheets provide Internet browsers with the information that enables them to present all the visual aspects of a web document. Cascading style sheets apply things such as borders, spacing between paragraphs, headings or images, control of font faces or font colors, background colors and images, textual effects such as underlined or strike-through text, layering, positioning, and a number of other presentational effects. CSS controls the presentational aspects of a web page's design, whereas HTML, XHTML, or XML controls the structure of a web page, which means little more than determining that certain text is a heading, other text is a paragraph, still other text is a list of hyperlinks, and so on. CSS provides enhanced and precise visual rendering; markup languages such as HTML provide meaning and structure.

Beginning CSS: Cascading Style Sheets for Web Design, Second Edition covers all the details required to combine CSS with HTML, XHTML, or XML to create rich, aesthetically powerful designs. Throughout the book, you’ll focus on combining CSS with XHTML specifically because XHTML is the standard hailed by Internet standards bodies as the successor to HTML and the present and future of website design. CSS and XHTML allow a web document to be presented with less code, resulting in a significantly smaller file size and greatly increased ease of maintenance. CSS also enables the presentation of a web document to be centralized, which allows for the look and feel of an entire website to be written and centralized in one or a few simple documents, which makes updating a website a breeze. With only a few simple edits to a single document, the look and feel of an entire website can be completely changed.

By using modern standards like CSS and XHTML, you can drastically reduce the cost of building and maintaining a website when compared to legacy HTML-only pages. You can also greatly reduce the amount of physical bandwidth and hard disk space required, resulting in immediate long-term benefits for any website.

This book also discusses how to style XML documents with CSS—XML being a more advanced markup language with multipurpose applications. XML will play an increasingly larger role in the production of XHTML documents in the future.

This second edition of Beginning CSS features a near-complete overhaul of the content from the first edition. Changes based on what readers had to say about the first edition helped to create the most comprehensive introduction on CSS available on the market. Throughout this book, you see CSS broken down into simple examples that focus on a single concept at a time. This allows you to better understand how and why something works, since you aren't presented with a lot of irrelevant code, and you can better see the bits and pieces that come together that make something work. While these examples may not be particularly pretty, they are extremely valuable learning tools that will help you master cascading style sheets.

To enhance the learning experience, most of the source code examples are presented in syntax-colored code, a special feature in this book. Syntax coloring is a feature that you commonly see in fancy development software, such as Zend Studio (used to develop PHP), or Microsoft's Visual Studio (used to develop ASP, C#, and so on), and other software used by professional programmers every day. Syntax coloring is used in these software suites to make programming easier and more intuitive, and it offers tremendous benefits in teaching as well. It allows you to see what the different bits and pieces are in source code, since each of the different bits and pieces has a different coloring to identify its purpose. It helps you to distinguish the building blocks of code more easily, and if you use similar development software to write your CSS and HTML documents, you'll also find that you make fewer mistakes and typos, since syntax coloring also helps you to write code that is more bug free.

Many of the source code examples feature annotations to highlight important, not-to-be-forgotten bits of information, and to visually point out concepts that are discussed in the surrounding text.

This edition also features every screenshot from a browser in color, a first for Wrox. Presenting the browser screenshots in color makes it easier for you to compare your results with what you see in the book.

This book also approaches CSS development from a browser-neutral point of view, and provides all the information that you need to get a good healthy start on professional cross-browser, cross-platform website design with IE 6, IE 7, Firefox 2, Opera 9, and Safari 2, which will allow you to reach over 99 percent of the web browsing public.

You also see comprehensive coverage of bugs, and workarounds for the IE 6 and IE 7 web browsers. Long a thorn in the side of CSS developers, making CSS work in IE 6 can be quite a chore without detailed knowledge of its quirks and shortcomings. This book covers many of the hacks and nonstandard workarounds that you may need to develop compatible CSS content in IE 6. IE 7 features many great improvements to CSS support, and though they are much fewer than its predecessor, you still need a few tricks to make your web page shine in Microsoft's latest browser. It covers the workarounds that you'll need to make your pages work just as well in IE 7 as they do in all the other popular browsers. In addition, you'll find the quick reference in Appendix B updated to reflect all of IE 7's new CSS support.

Along with better coverage of Internet Explorer, there’s greatly improved coverage of Mac OS X browsers, Safari, Firefox, and Opera. You'll see that Mac browsers are equally represented among their Windows brethren.

Whom Is This Book For? This book's primary audience is anyone seeking to learn how to use cascading style sheets to present web documents. Because cascading style sheets are used to control the presentational layout of a web document, people from backgrounds in art, graphic design, or those who prepare print layouts for publishing will feel at home using CSS. Regardless of your background, CSS is a simple and powerful language designed so that anyone can understand and use it.

To get the most out of this book, you need some experience with markup languages like HTML or XHTML. If you are completely new to website design and development, you should begin learning web programming with Jon Duckett's Beginning Web Programming with HTML, XHTML, and CSS. Jon Duckett's book provides a complete overview of website development and design for the complete beginner, whereas Beginning CSS: Cascading Style Sheets for Web Design, Second Edition focuses specifically on the role of CSS in website design.

This book presents all of the material you need to become comfortable with writing CSS from scratch.

What Does This Book Cover? This book covers portions of the CSS Level 1, 2, 2.1, and 3 specifications. These specifications are created by an independent, not-for-profit Internet standards organization called the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) that plans and defines how Internet documents work. The majority of the book is written using what is defined in the CSS Level 2.1 specification.

This book leads you through how to write CSS so that it is compatible with all of the most popular web browsers, focused on all of the following popular browsers:

* Microsoft Internet Explorer 6 for Windows

* Windows Internet Explorer 7 for Windows XP Service Pack 2, Windows Server 2003, Windows XP Professional 64 bit, and Windows Vista

* Safari 2 for Mac OS X 10.4 (Tiger)

* Mozilla Firefox 2 for Mac OS X, Windows, and Linux

* Opera 9 for Mac OS X, Windows, and Linux

The preceding browsers make up over 99 percent of the web browser market share at the time of this writing. For your convenience, this book also includes an integrated CSS feature reference throughout the book, as well as notes on browser compatibility. A CSS reference is also included in Appendix B.

How This Book Is Structured: This book is divided into three parts. The following explains each of these three parts in detail, and what each chapter covers.

Part I: The Basics: Throughout Chapters 1 through 4 you learn the founding principles of CSS-based web design.

* Chapter 1, "Introducing Cascading Style Sheets": This chapter talks about what CSS is, why it exists, who created it, where it is maintained, and how it has evolved. It also discusses some of the basic differences among the various CSS specifications—CSS Level 1, CSS Level 2, CSS Level 2.1, and CSS Level 3—and how these specifications define what CSS is. You also learn more about each of the most popular browsers in use today, how to obtain them, and write your first CSS-enabled document. It also shows you how to install Internet Explorer 6 and Internet Explorer 7 side-by-side on the same computer for testing.

* Chapter 2, "The Essentials": This chapter introduces the basics of CSS. Now that you have seen an example CSS document, this chapter introduces CSS rules and how selectors and declarations are combined to create rule...


Product Details


Product Description

Review

“…perfect for people who are starting to use CSS…” (oraclehome.co.uk, October 2005) --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

From the Back Cover

The power to build visually stunning web sites is now at your fingertips. This comprehensive introduction clearly shows you how to combine Cascading Style Sheets (CSS) with HTML, XHTML, or XML to create rich, aesthetically compelling web designs. It follows a browser-neutral point of view so you can easily develop sites that are compatible with IE6, IE7, Firefox 2, Opera 9, and Safari 2.

Packed with detailed examples in syntax-colored code and showing the resulting web pages in color, the second edition will help you discover how and why CSS works. It first guides you through the principles of sound CSS-based web design and the properties for manipulating the presentation of a document. You'll then find out how to take your sites to a higher level with CSS concepts such as multi-column layouts and centering positioned elements vertically.

What you will learn from this book

  • All about the CSS Level 1, 2, 2.1, and 3 specifications
  • Ways to manipulate text and select effects for your fonts

  • Bugs and workarounds for IE6 and IE7

  • How to control the flow of your document layout

  • Tips for enhancing your design using backgrounds

  • The four different types of positioning: static, relative, absolute, and fixed

  • How to change the behavior of elements in an XML or HTML/XHTML document

Who this book is for

This book is for beginning web developers and designers who want to use CSS for better, faster design and markup. Basic familiarity with HTML is required.

Wrox Beginning guides are crafted to make learning programming languages and technologies easier than you think, providing a structured tutorial format that will guide you through all the techniques involved.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 3.9 out of 5 stars  9 reviews
20 of 20 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful July 26 2007
By Todd Hawley - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
I've read several books about CSS over the last three or four years, but this book has to be the most complete I've seen. Not only does Mr. York obviously know this material quite extensively, he does it in a way that makes total sense. And this book is not just for beginning web developers either, there's quite a bit of information that more experienced developers can learn about. I also liked the various code examples in color. It helps to make the specific code stand out much more when it's in a different color than the code around it. This of course helps the reader to understand and remember it more effectively.

The author also takes time to talk about the differences in browsers and how each one presents the code. There are few things more aggravating to a web developer than having to deal with the various quirks of each browser. What looks great in IE may not look so hot in Firefox or Safari. And vice versa. The author cites various examples of this throughout the book, as well as "workarounds" for each "issue."

Another thing that makes this book so enjoyable is how the author goes through step by step instructions on how to achieve a particular style. This is one way to show how styles affect presentation.

It's amazing how powerful CSS has become over the last few years. There's a lot you can do with styles and Mr York has shown all web developers ways we can take advantage of this power.
13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Everything I was looking for in just one book May 18 2008
By Patricia G. Conley - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
When searching for a technical manual, I usually am able to narrow the field down to just 2 or 3 that together will cover my needs.

I sat down with a stack of about 15 books on CSS, including the most popular listed on Amazon, and started thumbing through them to evaluate their content, organization, reference material, indexing, etc. I eliminated several books, and had a tall stack of possible books to one side when I opened this book. I was first struck by the simple beauty of the book layout. The material in this book is presented in an exceptionally pleasing manner, easy to read, and well punctuated with examples and graphics. Code is colorcoded so the reader can easily pick out the portions being described in the text, and followed by color photos of the actual screens resulting from the code.

The book is logically organized and includes the best and most comprehensive reference section of all the books I considered.

The topics are easy to read and clearly presented. There are exercises to do which allow the reader to actually test-drive the techniques described and accompanying code files are available on the website to go along with the book.

I was surprised to find one book that contained everything that I look for in a technical manual. Hurray! I didn't have to buy 2 or 3 books to cover all the bases.

Thank you Richard York.
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One of the bests CSS books March 18 2008
By Marcos O. Cabral - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
This book is what it's intend to be: an excellent book for CSS beginners. Good sequence of chapters, good examples, and the wellcome surprise of color sintax and screen pictures.
Congratulations to Wrox, and I expect that other books could be printed with same quality presentation.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Pretty Good Book Jan. 10 2010
By E. Montalvo - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
The book does cover from the easier parts of CSS as well as parts that only relate to Internet Explorer. I don't think that this book is a beginner's book and it does provide good coverage of the CSS as it relates to the browsers that work and Internet Explorer -- which we call Mr. Alzheimer for many reasons.

I use the book to develop some of the newer sites that I am working on because I don't have the time to search the Internet for an answer. There is a lot of trial and error involved when it comes to web development and books like this one help reduce this trial and horror.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Great for beginners April 15 2011
By Hunter B - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Even though this book is outdated, it contains lots of valuable information and useful examples for those teaching themselves web page design. The information in this book is basic, however, and if you already have experience with CSS I recommend the book "Professional CSS" by the same publisher.
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